Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

NAFTA talks turn tense on day of deadline

NAFTA talks turn tense on day of deadline

The White House on Friday notified Congress it intends to sign a revised NAFTA with Mexico, and will continue working to keep Canada in the agreement. The US president warned Congress against interfering, threatening to kill the deal single-handedly.

He said in a tweet issued on Saturday that it would be left of the new NAFTA if "fair deals for the US" isn't reached.

"As we've said all week, we're working toward a modernized NAFTA, a modernized NAFTA that will be good for Canada and the middle class", said Cameron Ahmad.

"Congress should not interfere with these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off".

Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced NAFTA as "one of the worst trade deals ever made".

Talks between Team Trump and Canadian leaders collapsed Friday, the same day the Toronto Star published off-the-record comments the president made in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Canadian and United States officials talked late into the night without reaching a deal on an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement ahead of today's deadline.

The negotiations to rewrite it dragged on for a year and Canada stayed on the sidelines this summer while the USA and Mexico executed the hard bargaining.

Trump has charged that the deal wiped out American factory jobs.

"As we've said all week, we're working toward a modernized NAFTA that is good for the middle class and people working hard to join it", spokesman Adam Austen said in a statement.

Moving ahead towards securing the trade deal with Mexico does not mean Washington is ceasing attempts to agree a deal with Canada, Lighthizer noted.

This week's new round of U.S.

Still, Freeland expressed confidence that Canada could reach a deal with the United States on a revamped trade accord that could please all sides.

"I think all three countries have worked together very productively and we're getting more and more excited about the results", a senior U.S. official told reporters.

United States and Canadian negotiators worked throughout the week on adding Canada to Friday's notice, but the negotiations failed to produce an agreement ahead of Mr Trump's own Friday deadline. "I think the key decision was freezing Canada out and then negotiating directly with Mexico". The spat reignited in November 2016 when the US lumber industry filed a petition asking for duties, alleging Canadian wood is heavily subsidized and imports were harming American mills and workers. "We've been aggressively pursuing an agreement that works for the workers in all three countries and I can say we're not done yet".

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is leading negotiations for her country, has declined to get into details of talks.

It's unclear where Canada and the US stand in negotiations and whether NAFTA talks could soon come to a close. Mexico swiftly retaliated with import tariffs on some American goods, including steel, apples and pork. The U.S. -Canada talks will resume Wednesday.

Canadian negotiators spent the week in Washington trying to find common ground on issues ranging from tariffs on dairy products to trade dispute resolutions.

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